IGI 2: Covert Strike
IGI2 gives you control of David Jones, an ex-army man recruited by IGI (Institute for Geotactical Intelligence). IGI is a group of highly trained elite warriors, controlled by the private sector and founded by Senator Pat Lenehan.
Needles to say, you are the best of the best. You already knew that of course, but now you have to proove yourself by completing missions other people (beside Rambo or some other one-man-army man) think not to be impossible. There is a difference with Rambo and your character though. Jones is a wussy… fortunately a clever one.
The gameplay is basically always the same: you start your mission with some objectives, for instance trying to steal a chip from a tightly secured base. If you really want, you can infiltrate the base gun blazing, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The idea is to scout the environment and search a way to get to your objective. This brings us to the nicest thing in this game, for doing this you’ve got some gadgets at your disposal: binoculars to see what is going on, a map computer giving you a total overview of the map (except for what is happening indoors) and last but most certainly not least: a thermal imaging device, a legitimate wall hack sort of speak. Using this device you can see through (almost) everything, it picks up body heat so you know where the enemy is. After the scouting you can decide your plan of action: sneak your way to the objective, or when that’s not an option, you’ll have to choose a point of attack, a place where you can take down some guards without alarming the entire base and move on from there.
As for the weapons in the game, there are a lot of them. The silenced G-175D (a pistol) will be your best friend in this game. For the more massacre touch in the game I’d advice the AK-47. Remember that you can only have one weapon and one side-arm at the same time. So know when to replace your sniper with the AK-47’s lying on the floor from butchered enemies.
Jones can crawl, run, walk and sit on his knees. Crawling makes you the most invisible for the enemies and gives the best aim with your guns. Don’t be afraid to make your clothes filthy, my grandfather always told me it’s better to have some dirt on your clothes than your own blood. The AI will almost never notice you if you crawl around a bit. On the other hand the AI isn’t that smart anyway. Imagine you are guarding a top secret facility in the middle of nowhere. You’re hanging around with your buddy guards in the middle of the terrain with only a security camera hanging above your head. All of the sudden the camera explodes! What do you do?
•a) Will you sound the alarm and notify every other person in the facility to keep their eyes open for security threats and start a search for possible infiltrators?
•b) Run around like mad with your co-guards from under the camera and have no clue where you are going, not sounding the alarm and eventually thinking it was a malfunction in the camera or just another one of those suicidal camera’s (“Happens a lot” you think to yourself).
Or when the camera is hanging outside the building you are in:
•c) You hear the explosion and so do the other guards. You start running around inside the house, going insane and throwing grenades inside the house meanwhile yelling “grenada” all the time. When at the same moment the destroyer of the camera is using his thermal imaging device watching you going insane inside and laughing his pants of.
The AI chooses for options b and c. Granted, the missions should have been made different if the alarm went every time a camera went down. The missions where you really need to sneak passed the cameras have some sort of high-tech camera’s impossible to destruct.
However, spamming grenades non-stop inside the house when you are on the outside is a bit silly to say the least. It’s like the guards can see through the walls all the time and have no clue why they can’t move past it or why the grenades don’t get to me. After quite some time they discover the door though, I guess they ran out of grenades and need to get closer with weapons or something.
An other AI flaw is that they don’t think ahead, seeing a pile of dead bodies should give you a hint that I am standing behind the wall waiting for a kill. In the second mission I made some noise outside a room filled with guards, the moment they get suspicious and ran out I hid in the toilet room and took position behind a wall, the result can be seen on one of the screenshots, never underestimate the power of a knife kids.
I have to say that I don’t really mind such things, they seem to be stupid, but I enjoy exploiting flaws in the AI. Some missions would have been too hard if I couldn’t have done such things, it’s not an excuse, but I had fun nonetheless. They had to make the mission easier and the AI better of course.
The graphics are really nice; most missions have wide open fields with an impressive line of sight. Sniper’s heaven I’d call it, especially the multiplayer maps. The system specs are not to be underestimated because of this so make sure to try the demo before you buy it.
The music and sound effects are nice too, although some weapon fire sounded a bit lame in my opinion. I have no idea how they sound in reality but I prefer the gun fire effects in counterstrike above those in IGI2. The music reminded me a lot of the music in Hitman 2, another sneaky game I enjoyed a lot.
About the multiplayer aspect: I was a bit sceptical the first times I played it online, I had no real experience in team games that involved multiple objectives (except for a little of Return to castle Wolfenstein) and in my first experiences I thought it would be almost impossible to get good team play in a game that hasn’t been released for long. Although it took me some time to get to know the maps and find out what we had to protect/destroy, the moment that became clear the game was really great to play. I had so much fun preventing a power generator from being activated by lying down in the sand, holding a sniper rifle and scouting the entire area for incoming bad guys. This would have been considered very lame if I had done it on a counterstrike server, I would have been insulted a billion times, kicked and even banned from the server after my fifth kill. I didn’t even get one comment on my play style and stood first with 72 kills and 20 deaths, I love the people that play IGI2 online 🙂
If you have the pc that can handle this violence and are into sneaky games you really should consider IGI2, download the demos and try it out, it’s really worth it. And if you are ever on a server where I am playing, look out for a guy on the ground with a very big sniper aiming at your head.